Be warned! This review will cover aspects of the episode. Spoilers will lurk like groaning walkers…
After all that, All Out War turns out to be more like All Out Slightly Heated Argument. Yet while it could certainly feel like an anticlimax after all that build-up, Wrath delivered on a different level to the show’s usual action-packed finales. Yes, the conflict between the Saviors and Everyone Else was over more quickly than anyone would have imagined, bumped along by a beginning that piled twist on twist to little effect, but ultimately helped by another convenient change of heart in one Dr. Eugene Porter.
There were still a couple of chances for director Greg Nicotero and his team to indulge themselves, including a firebomb assist from the Oceanside gang (everyone figured they’d show up eventually, right?) and the looming threat of a giant horde of walkers, all presumably drawn by the racket everyone has been making in the last season or so. The swarm was a counterpoint to the fact that the walkers have been seriously relegated in their threat level, so perhaps Season 9 will go some way to bringing back the horror.
With the conflict mostly solved in a flash (or a bang), there was still a moment for Rick and Negan to brawl, and for viewers with a memory to finally see what was up with the stained-glass panels hanging from the tree, where we saw Rick earlier in the season. And Negan finally got what was coming to him… But wait! He’s alive! There was one brief shining second when we thought that perhaps he’d been put out of our misery, but the TV team decided to keep to the comic books and lock him away as a symbol of how not to build a new civilization. We suppose this means Jeffrey Dean Morgan will show up from time to time, in between movie roles. But can someone use Lucille for kindling?
Elsewhere, the fallout was mostly reflective; with few lives lost (most people seemed to die by Morgan’s hand/staff this episode), there was a chance for some to figure out their futures. Dwight, wracked with remorse, is offered exile and heads out. Morgan also leaves, but unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know he’s simply crossing over to Fear The Walking Dead where he can safely spout conflicting theories, have visions, and, we don’t know, maybe accidentally hit children on the head in peace there.
The most interesting aspect was Maggie, Jesus and Daryl, who have formed some sort of dissenting trio. We can see why Maggie might have something to complain about when it comes to sparing Negan, but the nature of Daryl’s beef (beyond the loss of his friends) is more nebulous. It does, at least, offer some tempting plot lines going forward: will these three work against Rick and co? We’ll see how much of a part Lauren Cohan plays in the future, as her contract is still being worked out,
A different type of finale for the show, and in a way a welcome one. It certainly feels like the closing of one chapter and the start of another and could almost have served as a series finale. But there is plenty of work ahead, and the future isn’t as clear as Rick might hope it is. At the very least, though, the Saviors are done, and we can rest easy until the next big threat rears its head.
Highlight: Rick Vs. Negan
Lowlight: Father Gabriel’s dull escape attempt.
Kill of the week: Morgan’s slice ‘n’ dice Savior victim.
Quote of the week: “There’s got to be something after” – Rick’s repeated mantra for the week.
Zombie of the week: The Bigfoot-looking guy who attacks Father Gabriel.
MVP: Jerry. Just ‘cos.
The big question: So what’s next? Alexandria, Hilltop, Oceanside and the Sanctuary will try to work together, but we expect drama. Maggie and co. are the ticking bomb under the table and, even worse than all of that, Rick may try to make another speech. Run!
Read this season’s previous reviews below…
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC in the States and Mondays at 9pm on Fox.